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AET Project brief - AET post 16 training hubs 2015

AET Project brief – AET post 16 licenced training hub for the South East 2015-2016
AET Project brief - post 16 training hub for the South East - Closing date for applications Friday 13th March 2015. Shortlisted organisations will be interviewed on 20th March 2015. The successful bidder will join an induction for new hubs on Friday 27th March 2015.

The Autism Education Trust was awarded contracts by the Department for Education (DfE) for the development and delivery of an integrated programme of training and materials over the period 2011/15. An extension to the current contract until April 2016 will build on the success of the AET’s two previous programmes.

This document sets down the brief for an AET Post 16 training hub in one of 5 English regions not covered currently by the AET Post 16 Programme. The regions - based on the areas demarcated by the old Government Regional Offices- are: South West, East, Yorkshire and Humberside, North East and North West. Applications are welcome from organisations from those regions or from national organisations with a regional presence.

To act as a training hub to facilitate the delivery a 3-tier programme of training programme for post 16 provision under licence from the AET to staff in the South East region of England as part of the Autism Education Trust’s DfE supported 2015/16 programme.

The Autism Education Trust

The Autism Education Trust (AET) was founded in 2007 by Ambitious about Autism (formally Tree House), The Council for Disabled Children (CDC) and The National Autistic Society (NAS) and has received consistent support from both governments since that time.

The  vision of the AET is that all children and young people with autism should receive an education which enables them to engage in society as active citizens and that their families and the professionals who work with them are informed, supported and equipped to enable this to be achieved. In order to achieve this, the AET has a mission to improve the education of young people with autism.

The AET achieves its mission through:

• the identification and promotion of high standards in autism education practice
• the identification and promotion of effective practitioner competency in support of those standards
• providing a platform for training in effective practice in support of improved competency
• disseminating information regarding evidence-based and good practice approaches/services to policy makers,  commissioners and practitioners
• providing  an interface between users, practitioners and policy makers in respect of service development
• ensuring that full and proper engagement of stakeholders informs its work and facilitating the engagement of stakeholders with government

The AET is in a unique position to carry out these activities because of:

• Its independence
• The partnership it supports between voluntary bodies and voluntary bodies and the maintained sector
• The active role of people with autism in the work and governance of the AET.
• Its national brief
• Its  focus on practical activity in education contexts

The 2011-13 and 2013-15 AET programmes

In the summer of 2011 the DfE awarded the AET funding to deliver an ambitious 2 year programme to raise workforce competency through:
• Delivering autism training for school staff  at level 1 (general awareness), level 2 (for staff working with young people with autism on a daily basis) and level 3 (for specialists such as SENCOs)
• Integrating this training with national standards for schools for autism education.
• Developing a competency framework to guide professional development

Birmingham University were commissioned to develop the training materials and the standards and 7 regional hubs were commissioned to deliver the training. The programme was rolled out successfully. By the end of the programme in March 2013:   
• Over 10,500 school staff had been trained at level 1, over 850 at level 2 and nearly 200 at level 3.

• The AET standards were published in May 2012 and there was strong interest and positive feedback from schools from the outset. There is now evidence of the standards being used in schools and strategically in some LAs on a whole LA basis.
• An AET competency framework was published in September 2012 which provides a structure for professional development. We are now receiving regular feedback from schools that this supporting staff CPD in this area of expertise.

A final evaluation (2013) from University of Warwick CEDAR unit found:
For level 1
• Very positive feedback  with robust evidence of staff moving on to level 2 as a result if undertaking level 1 training.
• Level 1 AET training materials have been successful in raising the knowledge, awareness and understanding of the majority of the participants, including those with previous experience of working with pupils on the autism spectrum.
• There was a highly significant rise in pre- and post-training mean total score on the Knowledge Quiz (p < .001).
• Over 8 out of 10 thought the training was ‘worthwhile’.

For level 2 and 3
• Very positive feedback with over 84% indicating the training was worthwhile and had increased their knowledge
• 93% of level 2 delegates and 97% of level 3 delegates  were interested in further training

The DfE awarded the AET a contract for a new 2013-15 programme that built on this success. It extended it by:
• Developing new early years and post 16 training materials and associated autism standards and competency framework
• Commissioning 4 early years and 4 post 16 training hubs to deliver the programme
• Developing the AET standards for use by parents in selecting schools and having a constructive dialogue with staff ion their child’s school.
• Developing a toolkit for LAs and other organisations who are using the AET training, standards and competency frameworks
The diagram below sets out the broad structure of both the 2011/13 and the 2013/15 programme. This structure will continue to underpin the new 2015/16 programme.

The post 16 programme

The post 16 training materials were developed from the existing schools training materials by a team of post 16/autism specialists and practitioners. The team also included people with autism and parents of children with autism. The team also produced post 16 version of the AET standards and competency framework.
The training materials keep the structure of the schools materials but have major adaptations for the post 16 sector. There are three tiers of training offered:  
1. Raising awareness
Basic autism awareness training for everyone involved in a post 16 provision who would benefit from an understanding of autism. This includes teaching and support staff, office staff, caterers, caretakers, transport staff, governors, employers and careers advisers.
2. For practitioners
Practical approaches to developing teaching, learning and support strategies for all staff working directly with young people with autism (including tutors, learning support practitioners, assessors, trainers and job coaches).
3. For managers
For all staff who may take a leadership role that includes responsibility for developing provision for young people with autism within a post 16 provision (including lead practitioners for autism; inclusion and/or curriculum managers and those who manage additional learning support).

From the summer of 2013 four training hubs were commissioned to deliver the training in the South East, London, West Midlands and East Midlands. The AET’s objective is to offer training across the whole of England and the commission of a further 3 training hubs is an important step towards this.

Training and induction and support of the new hubs

The new hubs induction will comprise:

• A complete set of training materials with written guidance on their use
• A workshop on the delivery of the materials provided by AET
• Attendance at least one tier 1, 2 and 3 course run by an existing AET Post 16 Training Hub

Additionally there will be termly Programme Partners meetings where the early years hub can feedback on their experiences of the training and network with other hubs and other colleagues involved in the programme.
During the course of the year AET colleagues will sit in on training sessions and feedback to the new hubs as part of AET support to ensure quality of delivery.  Additionally there will be termly meetings with hubs to review progress, gather feedback and discuss any issues arising.

What are the key deliverables?

There will be 4 key deliverables:

1. To be the exclusive AET training programme deliverer in the South East regions previously covered by an AET hub delivering the AET post 16 programme. The South East regions is based on the areas demarcated by the old Government Regional Offices.
2. To deliver training to the following minimum numbers of post 16 provision staff by March 2016:
 - 200 staff to receive tier 1 training
 - 33 staff to receive tier 2 training
 - 7 staff to receive tier 3 training
3. To maintain the current quality of delivery as indicated by feedback proformas gathered from all participants and quality assurance observations by AET commissioned staff.
4. To contribute to the refinement and development of AET materials including feeding back improvement suggestions on the materials during the course of the programme
The training will be subject to an evaluation and quality assurance process developed and coordinated by the AET.

What key skills / capabilities are important to us?

• Extensive experience in working with people across the spectrum, whether they have High Functioning Autism / Asperger Syndrome or have classical autism with or without other learning difficulties.
• Extensive experience of working in or with post 16 provisions.
• A track record of delivering high quality training with independent evaluation of its effectiveness.
• Evidence of access to extensive networks of post 16 provisions so that the new training hub will be able to “hit the ground running” at the commencement of the contract in April 2015.
• A willingness to be trained in the delivery of the AET materials and to supplement these with local materials where appropriate.
• Bidders should state where their employees include individuals with autism and how their skills will be used in this work.

When do we need it?

The delivery timetable is set out below:

 Activity By When
Training hub appointed 20th March 2015
Training and induction of new hub personnel 27th March 2015
Delivery of tier 1,2 and 3 training  to target numbers By end March 2016

Licence fee and suggested course cost structure

This contract offers bidders the opportunity to buy the licence to deliver to all Post 16 settings in the South East for a fee of £3,000 for 1 year from April 2015-16. ALL delegates coming to the AET training get a delegate pack from the training and hubs purchase delegates packs from AET at the current rate. This rate is subject to change as costs vary but will be set at the approximate cost to AET including delivery charges and VAT.

Hubs determine the charges they make to delegates for the training and keep these funds.
However there are advantages to a broad national rate and evidence from the 2013/15 programme showed that a national charge rate was sustainable. The AET would recommend the following charges:

Tier 1: free-£30 per delegate
Tier 2: £190 per delegate
Tier 3: £95 per delegate

Whole college rates have been set at £650 per day per trainer. It is recommended that no more than 25 delegates per trainer for a Tier 2 or 3 session.

Further information

Organisations who are interested in competing for this work should submit the proforma available to download here by Friday 13th March 2015. Those shortlisted will be interviewed on Friday 20th March 2015. The successful bidder will join the induction for new hubs on Friday 27th March 2015.

For an overview of the AET please see the AET website at

For individual queries please email our Administrator, Joanne Driver at . We will either respond to your query by email or arrange a phone call if necessary.

Relevant links

The AET post 16 autism standards

The AET post 16 autism competency framework

The AET programme